WIS. 28th REGMT., CO. G

October 1863

Copyright 1986, 1997-2018 [James R. Shirey]. All rights reserved.

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In Camp near little Rock, Arkansas
Friday, Oct. 2, 1863.

Last night I slept pretty well, and waked about 4 1/2 this A.M. and I found Alexander had been up some time and had been busy cooking breakfast. Well we soon had all ready and we were all up and ready but George and as he is some in the habit of lying abed we told him he must hurry if he wanted breakfast, but he lay though awake till day light. as Alexander & I were going on forage duty this was very good for us as we had to report at 6 & 6 1/4 O'Clock. We foraged for corn, there were 20 to 25 teams. We got some punkins, but could find no potatoes of any kind. There are vast fields of corn, in fact there is nothing else to be found. We were out about 8 miles from town, below on this side of the River. The day was warm & sunny I am very well. There was dress parade this evening, but I did not attend.



In Camp near Little Rock Ark.
Saturday, Oct. 3d 1863

This A.M. we got quite a large mail in which were two letters from Matt. and one from John Evans. One of Matts was dated Aug. 26 & the other from Mother & Matt. & Theresa Goff was about 12 inst. They were all well. Mother keeping strong hope for the best in all things & for my speedy & safe return after the war. Evans wrote about 12 inst. he spoke encouragingly of the prospect of the War & of our speedy success. His people were all well. We have the Memphis Bulletin of the 25 ult. it gives accounts of a heavy Battle beyond & not far from Chatanooga. Bragg had reinforcements from Lee in Va & Johnson in Miss or Al. the fight was on the 19 ult. and the first part of the fight was in favor of the enemy but Rosencrans finally repulsed the Rebs. This P.M. we had a batt. drill. I am will.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Sunday Oct. 4th 1863.

This morning as I could not sleep, I rose about 4 1/2 because of the cold. I & several others went to town to attend the church of the Methodists, but as we were rather late we thought the room to full, so we went to the Catholic church but could not gain admittance, so we stood outside a short time with many others. I asked if we could get in & a pushy large man told me when the bell rung. soon the doors opened & the many hurried in but we were given place to stand up, while a few soldiers, all shoulder straps and Ladies, and citizens generally had seats soon we started out & went to the Methodist church where the Chaplin of the 36 Iowa preached. we got back at about 1 P.M. I wrote a part of a letter to Matt. I am well. The day is sunny & cool. Gen. Salomon came Back from Wis. he looks well.



At Outpost 1 mile W. of Little Rock
Monday, Oct. 5, 1863

This morning I was up early as I was going on outpost. Lieut. Turner commands the force of 22 men from our Brigade, 29 & 33 Iowa & 28 Wis. The place is the same that we guarded about two weeks ago. I wrote some during the day, finishing a sheet I began yesterday. Some of the boys killed some pigs, so we had plenty of nice meat. We got a few potatoes but those now get scarce. We got many grapes which are plenty. We stood on post one hour at a time. In the evening three cav. boys tried to get out to go to a picket post if as they said but in reality they were going to a den of infamy outside about a mile. They did not get out. The day is dry & sunny. I am well.



In Camp near little Rock, Ark.
Tuesday, October, 6th, 1863.

This morning there was a light shower soon after daylight. When I reached camp I found a letter from Matt. dated Sept. 20 he writes they are all well, except that Mother did not feel well the day he wrote but it was only temporary. I hope it will not last long. They had thrashed 196 bu. wheat at home Wm. Shields did the work. Father & Mother had been in town this fall. Father Felt so well that when thrashing being short of help he went on the straw stack where he worked some time. Wheat fetches about 1.00 a bushel. Some of the boys were written that Ivin[?] Loomis was married lately. he is a sort of gosling about 18. Our tents have come but not in time to set them up. There is to be a change of camp grounds again This P.M. the sky looks like rain, with lightning & thunder. I am well.



In Camp near Little Rock Ark.
Wednesday Oct. 7, 1863

Last night I slept without my clothes the first night in several weeks, two at least I think. We slept on our tents which made it warmer than usual for us, but as I gave Danl. my wool Blanket I did not sleep so well as I otherwise would. I was detailed on fatigue duty today, but as I could get no ax or spade to work with I did not do much. We worked brushing & grubbing a place for the 29 Iowa inf. to camp on the left of our Brigade & beyond the battery. All the Co's were busy tearing down the brush shelters, and putting our tents up. Gilbert & Danl McNeill thought all six of us would be too many but Bastin they wished to have stay in the squad thus making five. I tried to get with some others but found none willing & so I am the only one alone but I am well & hopeful. Day was cool & sunny



In Camp near Little Rock Ark.
Thursday October 8 1863.

Last night I was with my late tent mates till about 9 P.M. & as I found room in Lt. Turner's large tent, which he gave to Cullen, Draper, Nosburg &c I moved my things in & slept on the ground over my rubber. Roll call came early & the morning was chill. I was waked once in the night by cold of my feet, but slept well after I got up and warmed them. This A.M. for awhile I was puzzled what to do as there were none that seemed pleased to have me in with them. At last I made a place in the tent occupied by King & Abare as no one else was with them. They were unwilling they are both so selfish. So I am now alone & distinct. I read some this P.M. & fell asleep. Gilbert & Bastin were in town & took some coffee (green) to town & got 40 cts a lb. for it. for my share I got 10 cts worth of peppa & 15 cts This P.M. a citizen took a load of sweet potatoes into camp & sold some to the boys for 1.00 a bu. Gi[l]bert & I got a bu.& a peck. Some of the boys stole some potatoes & tobacco from him. This is shameful. Sergt. Major A. Kendrick appeared this evening as Adjutant of our Regt. He is promoted. I am well. Lieut. Murray was officer of the Day. Day was sunny & cool. Tonight I have a hard bed.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Friday, October 9th 1863

This morning I was waked by the cold of my feet, so I arose some time before Roll call. the day was clear & rather pleasant. I did some washing this A.M. & had dinner about 1 P.M. I had some boiled beef and beans which I like pretty well. Yesterday I heard that a beef contractor was to supply us & that no more foraging was to be done for cattle. Today a large party went out to get potatoes but as they went 15 miles and found none they filled the flagons with corns & the boys got some sweet potatoes for themselves. We had a good cleaning of our camp ground this A.M. We had no drill today. On dress parade were read orders relieving Col. Samuel A. Rict of the 33 Iowa of the command of the 3d div[?] and placing Brig. Gen F. Salomon in command of it. The Gen. was present at dress parade with his escort. Col. Benton is relieved from com. of the 2d Brig & returns to command the 29 Iowa. Col. Rice commands Brig.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Saturday, Oct. 10th 1863.

This morning a change in the weather was apparent as the air felt warmer and less frosty than for 2 or 3 weeks past. Roll Call was not so early as usual. I mailed a letter to Matt. on which I paid 6 cts. I was on fatigue duty for a few hours in the A.M. We had battelion drill this P.M. No dress parade. Lieut. Turner was officer of the day for our Regt. last evening an order was read detailing Lieut. Colier Co E as Q[?]. M. I believe Wiley late Q.M. I believe retires & probably goes North. On drill Gilbert of our Co. & orderly Bennet of B. assumed command of the two Co. & showed the effect of inexperience & Ignorance. four boys of our Co. returned from the Bluff. they went last monday. Today I sewed my pants & shirts some. Day was pleasant & I feel very well.



In Camp near Little Rock.
Sunday Oct. 11. 1863

This morning I attended Church in the Presbyterian congregation, also in the evening, both services were very good, interesting and instructive. During the A.M. service the preacher who I think is a chaplain of some Cav. Regt. prayed for the Pres. of the U.S. when a woman who sat in the Gallery but when these words were heard she suddenly went down stairs & left. In the evening service a capt. made the prayer. The day was sunny & pleasant. I wrote a part of a letter to Anthony but did not finish it. I have read accts of the Battle of Chickamauga 19 & 20 ult. our right was out about 12 miles & our left about 6 our forces were repulsed & driven back to the works at Chatanooga. I am well.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Monday, Oct. 12, 1863.

This morning I finished my letter to Matt. & mailed it to him. I was up about daylight and the sun came out & smiled & was hidden all day as the day was cloudy I have heard that the Rep. have nominated John Smith for assembly & the dem. Jas. McDonough. the principles of the first I like the best but between the men there is but little choice. Today or tomorrow Valindigham[?] is to be tried by the people of Ohio. God grant the triumph of the Right. I read some today in the Memphis Bulletin. No news of importance, but Rosencranse is safe, said to have 18000 reinforcements in a week after the fight. No News from Charleston, S.C. Rebel papers speak of a woman bread[?] riot in Mobile. Sky is clear tonight. I am well.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 1863

Today is the first anniversary of the muster of our Regiment into the U.S. Service which took place in Camp Washburn, Wis. That was a bright warm day, this is a rather cool, & cloudy day. We were paid today for two months $26.00. I paid all my debts amt. to $6.20, besides 2 I owe for the boots I wear which were Lt. Tichenor's Yesterday I earned three loaves of bread, worth .30, one of which I sold for a dime & I ate one. today I chopped some wood for the baker or rather split it & he gave me two loaves which I sold for .20 cts. This night Alexander McNeill & I had a pleasant talk in the tent that I stop in. he stopped a good while. I wrote a letter for King & Abare to Wis. I have written one to Sergt. McKee. I am very well. thanks to God.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark
Wednesday, Oct. 14 1863.

This morning I was up about 4 O'Clock as King & I were going foraging. We ate breakfast by Candle & were all ready at daylight. About 7 1/2 we started and went about 12 or 14 miles to a brick kiln, where we loaded many teams & I went 1/2 mile farther and got some sweet potatoes more than a peck & some onions & as we came in one of the boys shot a pig & I got one forequarter. On the route are two saw mills one in operation for army use. Along the way there is a lot of good pine for lumber. the land is clay all the way with some low land intermixed. some of the way was as stony as any I ever saw in Wis. The Country is not much sett[l]ed. Last Sunday I saw Lt Goff Co. H. direct from Wis. Yesterday Ohio & Iowa voted for gov. Today I hear Col. Dobins is a prisoner here in our hands I am well.



On the Road for Duvall's Bluff
from Little Rock Thursday Oct. 15 1863

This morning I was up about 4 as Hinkley, Jacobie King & I were detailed to go to guard a train of Wagons for supplies to Duvall's Bluff. We reported at 6, and were joined by details from the 29 & 33 Iowa. There were 36 privates 3 non & 1 commissioned Officer, Lieut Murray. We found a train of Wagons waiting on the other side of the river for us. we soon got in two or three in a wagon. We took the road leading by the place where we stopped Sept. 3 12 miles from Little Rock, and across the bayou which then was a locality of such grave interest to us as well as all the way beyond to Little Rock. But now we found it a wooddy way with Little of danger We stopped to water where we camped 3d ult & camped about a mile W. of Brownsville in a field. the day was sunny & warm.



On the March Friday , Oct 16 1863.

Last night King & I slept under our wagon as we could not get room in it. We slept pretty well & waked early and had a plenty of fresh meat that the boys butchered & Hinkley cooked & we had some hot coffee. We started about sunrise & passed through Brownsville without a halt & we could get no water in the town. One of Merrils' Horse Regt. told me some of them had a fight at Batesville with some rebs a few days before & Cap. 60 or 70. He did not tell how many killed or wounded, but I suppose the loss was small As soon as we got through the town we formed on the prairie in 3 columns and so continued all the way to the Bluff or the woods about a mile out, where we met a train going out & some ready to start. This was about 5 P.M. We cooked supper again & slept under the wagons. Day was sunny All well.



At Duvall's Bluff on White River, Ark.
Saturday October, 17, 1863.

This morning a detail of 3 men was made from each Co. to help load the Wagons. King went first & I next We loaded some 4 boxes of crackers in each wagon & had an easy time. While on the Landing 3 women, one young came with some Peaches & eggs. They sold the eggs for .25 a doz. & some peaches for 10 & others for 15 cts. a doz. I bought a doz. of each kind & sold about half for 25 or 30 cts. Findlay of Co. A. bought a barrel of apples for $10.00 & sold them for at a dime apiece or 3 for a quarter. This I thought more than I could afford to pay so I did not buy any. Last even I bought some bread for a dime a loaf. This even it looks like rain lightens & thunders



On the March 6 miles E from Brownsville
Sunday Oct. 18, 1863

This morning we waked about daylight & were soon up. The morning was some cloudy but there was no rain in the night. the A.M. was some cloudy but soon the sky became clear & beautifully clear. A detail was made at 6 to load some of the wagons & we started about 7 1/2 but not till I had finished a letter to Father & Mother & mailed it. We crossed on the prairie all day which we found burned nearly all over and the fire was still running filling the air with smoke. We saw the train on the track which started out for little Rock yesterday P.M. The Engine I heard got broke in some small parts. The train was guarded by 2 Cos. We saw an Engine & tender coming from Little Rock. We met a train of 60 to 80 wagons going to the bluff. We camped about 5 O'clock on the prairie.


On the Return to Little Rock, Ark.
Monday October 19th 1863.

Last evening just after camping we had some sport shooting at Prairie chickens which were very plenty about and some quite bold. King & I & many others shot at one at about 6 to 8 rods & all missed but Bogart C. Co. who killed it. King shot one soon after which I picked & Hinkley cooked & we ate it for breakfast. it made nice soup. many others shot some all with ball. This morning we started before sunrise passing through Brownsville and on a good watering place 10 miles from Little Rock, in the A.M. I drove the team 3 or 4 miles & rode one of the mules. The road all the way is rather dusty. the day breezy & pleasant. Nearly all the teamsters are Irish. After stopping we butchered some cattle. We traded some sugar for buttermilk King & I got two cups full.



On the March & in Camp near Little Rock. Tuesday, October 20th 1863.

Last evening all of us four in our Co. & Cos. I & K were on picket. We went on post about sunset ys nearly all appear fleshyer & better than when we left. No mail came to camp since we left, but the boys are very anxious to get some. Day closed dry but threatens rain. I am very well. No news.



In Camp at Little Rock Ark.
October 21 Wednesday

It rained some last night and this morning till 8 or 9 Oclock when it cleared off some toward noon when the sun came out & shone brightly till about sunset when the sky was again overcast with clouds. We had a Brigade drill this P.M. Brig. Gen Rice of 33d Iowa commanded. Col. Gray of our Regt. made some mistakes & showed he too wanted some study or drill or both. The 3d Iowa battery of six guns 4 brass & 2 10 lb. rifled parrots were on drill at the same time. None of the bakers have bread, but as the supply of flour is very short, what they get is used to make pies & very small biscuits called by our baker, Rusks, Pies they sell for a dime & Rusks a cent apiece. This morning I bought a pie. I hoped to do some work for the baker so as to earn some bread, but he has a negro. At Duval's Bluff flour is worth 10 to 13 dollars a barrel, but here it sells for 16 to 20 dol and is scarce. The Rusks are very dear eating as one makes but two mouthfuls. I am very well.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Thursday, October 22 1863

About 8 this morning it began to rain which continued with interruption through the day. The day was dreary, Chill, & raw. There was no drill of any kind. Coats & shoes were drawn for those who ordered such, but no boots could be had or other articles. I got a dress coat, which I think is not very good, but it is large enough. Today the 9th Wis. came here to the Camp of our Brigade. I spoke to the Capt. of Co K. he told me Ritchal from our place in Wis Was in jail in St. Louis, & his term of 3 mos. was nearly out. Some sugar, Coffee, &c was contributed by our Co. & Regt for the 9th. About dark Sergt McKee & private Gelzer came into camp We were all very glad to see them they both look well. I am well.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Friday, October, 23, 1863

Last night I was waked by the cold and after lying for sometime awake, I had to get up after it stopped raining and found Hinkley out making a fire & as everything was wet we both had a hard time. I got some fire in Lt. Davis' tent & soon we had a rousing fire & we had a good warm. After a time I went to bed & had a good sleep. The morning was cold & cloudy but the day cleared off & was bright & sunny after about 9 A.M. Mail came two or three times during the day. in all of them the boys got a good large mail. I got two Letters from Matt. one 25 Sept & one Oct 7 All were well, very well but Maria & Eliza, both of whom have what the people think is the ague. Father & Mother were both well. They have good news from the army of Rosencrans. Father is rejoiced & hopeful. I am very well.



In Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Saturday October 24 1863.

Last night McKee & I slept well together we were warm & comfortable all night. The day was bright and Clear. At dress parade just before sunset I looked all over the horizon & all was clear & cloudless but in one place in the South just above the horizon. In our world one sees but few cloudless skies or days not darkened by foul deeds or lives in which there is no deep sorrow. Yesterday I bought two quires of paper from Gilbert for .50. & two & a pack of Envelopes from McKee for .80 cts. it is small paper, too small for letters. I bought 10 loaves of good Bread for 1.25 & let tent mates have six & kept 4 The loaves weigh 22oz & is very good bread. I wrote a letter for King to his wife & daughter. I was on fatigue detail but reported twice & did no duty. I am very well.



Sunday October 25th 1863
In Camp near Little Rock.

Last night the moon was full & the sky clear but the air was Cold & chill. Today is bright and clear. Last night each Co. got 6 overcoats which in our Co. were divided quickly among a few of the sergts & Corps. & the squad in most favor with Turner, composed of Muskego boys. I & some others who lost their coats in the fight at Helena were not the first to be supplied. "But there is a good time coming." I attended at the Presbyterian Church the officiating minister was from Memphis. He read the part of the Prophecy of ---- 12 Chap. (I think) in which it is said to be the duty of the people "To break every bond & let the slave go free." The sermon was good & able. I think he may be a southern, but an Anti-Slavery man. I mailed two papers to Maria. I am well.



On the March Monday Oct 26

Last night we talked till late & frolicked in the tent. The Moonlight was very clear & bright. We got to sleep about 10 O'Clock & were bound in the sweet embrace of sound sleep when about 11 P.M. we were waked up and ordered to prepare to march with blankets packed in Knapsacks & overcoats also at 2 A.M. We took all our little traps out & packed them up. We got breakfast & promptly started all our Brig. & the 9 Wis. our Regt. carried Knapsacks about 5 miles & then put them on the wagons. About 7 we stopped for Breakfast four of our Co. I one were detailed for baggage guard. The Dubuque Bat. was along with 1200 rounds of Artillery ammunition. About sundown we reached Benton the Co. Seat of Saline Co. on the Archidelphia road 25 miles from this place. I felt quite tired but marched all the way. I am very well.


In Camp at Benton Saline Co. Ark.
Tuesday Oct. 27 1863.

Today we lay in camp all day long The Cav. that was stationed here sent to reinforce our Cav. at Pine Bluff, yesterday morning, as Marmaduke attacked the 5 Kansas & 1st Ind Cav at that place. a large force of Cav. also went from Little rock to Pine Bluff. The report is that the Rebel force Numbers 5000 to 7000 Cav. The town is a small one of 50 or 75 houses most of them small. There are two hotels, a two story brick Court House, a two story frame Church. All around the town is a wilderness & heavily wooded. All the way from Little Rock is gravelly & stoney clay poor soil covered with a growth of Oak & good saw Pine for lumber There is a grist & saw steam mill near the town. Many of the houses along the road are deserted & wrecked. The Telegraph runs along the whole way. I am well.


In Camp at Benton Saline Co.
Oct. 28 1863.

Yesterday a large train came in. I bought 15 sheets of letter paper for 25 cts. as I brought no paper with me & we do not know when we start or whither we go as we may go on to archidelphia. If the rebels retreat this way we will have a good chance for a fight. Yesterday another Brig. came in & a battery. The people everywhere are in a very poor state. Yesterday 9 men & a rebel Major came in wishing to join our army. he went on to Little Rock to get permission to raise a force of their Neighbours


On the march toward Archidelphia
Thursday Oct. 29 1863

Last night I talked awhile to those men who came in day before yesterday from the S.W. part of the state about 120 miles distant. Many of them wish Slavery abolished & slaves out of the country as they said it was the cause of the War, and the Curse of our Country & the foe of the body of the people--the poor whites. They knew the Slave masters got up the war expressly in the interests of the institution, & with no real cause from the Government or the North. The country through which we travelled today was even poorer than from L.R. to Benton, & more uneven. It began to rain about M. & I was fortunate enough to keep my rubber off my Knapsack so I did not get any wet as I carried it. We got to Rockport in Hot Springs Co. 23 miles from Benton & 25 from Archidelphia. We stopped about one mile beyond the small village. As I did not touch or taste the whiskey most of the boys were some wet. they got some whisky for the first time since Jany. 22. Some trouble & much noise was the result. King took my share. We slept under our rubbers as it looked like rain.


On the Return to Benton
Friday, October 30, 1863.

About midnight it began to rain & continued till about 10 A.M. We stood about the fires of rails & let the rain fall which it did quite heavily. About 10 we started back & had some difficulty to get some of the teams out to the road. Some of the battery got stuck fast in the field, so they had to hitch two mule teams on with the horses. The boys last night had some whiskey distributed which caused much trouble & noise & some few quarrels in Camp. We marched about 12 or 15 miles & camped in a field where we burned many rails as we made a way to dry our blankets & Coats which had got wet During the day Cos. B. & G. acted as rear guard The Country is very poor, both the soil & people. The timber is pine, oak, sweet gum persimmon &c. soil very sandy, water plenty.



On the March to Benton, Saline Co. Ark.
Saturday October. 31 1863

Last night both McNeill's, Gilbert, McKee King & myself slept with our feet to the fire & I slept well though the night was cold & frosty. Today was very sunny & bright. We were Mustered this morning & I cleaned my gun which had been loaded several days & it got wet in the rain last night, so I had to draw the charge as I feared it would not go if we had a fight. The 9th Wis. today was in the rear, & the 3 Iowa battery was between it & our regt. We started at about 11 A.M. 7 reached Benton about Sundown. I bought several pieces (7 I think) of gingerbread at a dime apiece & sold some to King & Gilbert. We could not get a loaf of Bread in the town tonight. some of the boys bought supper for .50 cts. but this I think is too high for such as they can get. At Saline River we passed the Rebel Gen. Fagan's home, now all torn to pieces & wrecked I am very well.